|Publication number||US7719708 B2|
|Application number||US 11/143,804|
|Publication date||May 18, 2010|
|Filing date||Jun 1, 2005|
|Priority date||Jun 1, 2005|
|Also published as||US20060274355|
|Publication number||11143804, 143804, US 7719708 B2, US 7719708B2, US-B2-7719708, US7719708 B2, US7719708B2|
|Inventors||Andrew Rodney Ferlitsch, Roy K. Chrisop|
|Original Assignee||Sharp Laboratories Of America, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (62), Non-Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (7), Classifications (16), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention is directed to a secured release system to transmit and image a print job, and more specifically to a system for securing the release of the transmission, rendering, and outputting of a print job at an imaging device, for print jobs that originate in traditional print spooling subsystems.
In today's business environments, it is often advantageous to provide one peripheral device to service multiple users. For example, as shown in
A spooler 104 transmits print data to a printer by entering (“spooling”) the print data from client host devices 100 in a queue in order (e.g. the order of reception) and outputting (“de-spooling”) the print data in a predetermined or dynamically prioritized order to the printer. Exemplary traditional print spooling subsystems include those found in MS WINDOWS® and AS/400®. Any device or mechanism capable of entering the print data from client host devices 100 in a queue, for purposes of this description, will be referred to as a spooler 104. Any application, device, or mechanism capable of outputting the print data to the printer, for purposes of this description, will be referred to as a de-spooler 106.
Users often want to transmit print jobs securely.
The present invention is directed to an effective method for securing the release of the transmission, rendering, and outputting of an imaging/print job at an imaging device, for imaging/print jobs that originate in traditional print/spooling subsystems.
The method includes the following steps. A print job header is associated with a first imaging/print job to form a headed imaging/print job. A secured release input (that may be input at a secured release input apparatus of a client host device) is associated with the print job header by including a secured release indicative command/code in the print job header. The headed imaging/print job is divided into data packets. Initial data packet(s) are transmitted to the imaging device. It is determined whether the secured release indicative command/code is present in the initial data packet(s). Acceptance of subsequent data packets of the headed imaging/print job are prevented if the secured release indicative command/code is present in the initial data packet(s).
When a secured release input is received on a secured release input apparatus of the imaging device, subsequent data packets of the headed imaging/print job are accepted.
In one preferred embodiment, the subsequent data packets are retained on the client host device until they are released.
In one preferred embodiment, the pre-existing print subsystem does not need to be modified.
The foregoing and other objectives, features, and advantages of the invention will be more readily understood upon consideration of the following detailed description of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
The present invention is directed to an effective system for securing the release of an imaging/print job, where the imaging/print job is retained on the client host device 100 until it is securely released to an imaging device 102.
The present invention uses a headed imaging/print job 150 (
The system preferably works with a pre-existing host device 100 and its print subsystem (e.g. print spooler 104 and de-spooler 106 (e.g. print processor and port monitor)). Preferably the host device 100 print subsystem does not need to be modified except for the installation of a corresponding imaging device driver 160 (e.g. a printer driver). The imaging device driver 160 may be installed as software or may be a hardware/firmware device. An optional specialized secured release input apparatus 164 (which is a system that accepts a secured release input (SRI) 162) may also be added to the host device 100.
Another component of the present invention is the input analyzer 170 (
The present invention could be implemented as a specialized imaging device 102 that includes an input analyzer 170 and a mechanism for entering a secure release input 162. The present invention could also work with less sophisticated or pre-existing imaging devices 102. One way that the present invention could work with any imaging device 102 would be to modify the imaging device 102 to include an input analyzer 170 and/or a mechanism for entering a secure release input 162. Another way that the present invention could work with a pre-existing imaging device 102 would be to provide a specialized interspersed device (see
In preferred embodiments, while preventing acceptance of a secured release print job on one logical channel/port, other print jobs (secured or non-secured) may be received and analyzed on other logical channels/ports.
From a user's point of view, requesting imaging of a secured release print job using the present invention is a simple procedure. If the user wants to print a confidential document using the secured release feature, the user requests imaging of the imaging/print job 154 a from an application program (e.g. MS-Word®). The user is then prompted to enter a secured release input 162 that he enters at the secured release input apparatus 164 of the host device 100. The user subsequently goes to an associated imaging device 102 to retrieve the print job. It should be noted that preferred embodiments of the present invention would allow the user to delay print job retrieval without delaying the imaging of other users' print jobs. To retrieve the print job (
Headed Imaging/Print Job
The secured release input 162 is “related to” the secured release indicative command/code 156 of the print job header 152. “Related to” means that the secured release input 162 and secured release indicative command/code 156 may be matched, analyzed, found (e.g. using a look-up function), or otherwise compared or contrasted such that appropriate secured release inputs 162 will allow access to documents having the respective secured release indicative command/codes 156.
It should be noted that the secured release input 162 that is input at the secured release input apparatus 164 of the host device 100 may be different from the secured release input 162 that is input at the secured release input apparatus 166 at the imaging device 102. It should also be noted that there may be more than one secured release input 162 that corresponds to each secured release indicative command/code 156. For example, there may be a master secured release input 162 that would release all secured release print jobs.
It should be noted that the headed imaging/print job 150 may be divided into data packets (shown as 150 a, 150 b, 150 c) of the same size or of different sizes. It should also be noted that the size(s) may be pre-determined, specified by the user, or determined dynamically. In one embodiment, at least the first initial data packet is set to be the exact size of the print job header 152.
For exemplary purposes, the generation of a headed imaging/print job 150 may be accomplished using the following methods. In one method, a headed imaging/print job 150 may be generated using an imaging device driver 160 to convert application data to headed imaging/print job 150. In another method, a direct submit application produces a headed imaging/print job 150 that is subsequently transformed or augmented to include the secured release input 162. The direct submit application then encapsulates the application/image data with the secured release input 162 (where the native format of the data is interpreted by the imaging device 102).
As shown in
Once the complete print job header 152 has been received 173 (e.g. the data packet with the end of print job header 152 is encountered), a determination is made as to whether a secured release indicative command/code 156 has been detected. As part of the analysis process of this determination, the data packet(s) is parsed for data indicative of a secured release indicative command/code 156 according to a pre-known command syntax, such as the print job language (PJL) statement @PJL SET SUSPENDKEY=“<PIN>” implemented by the Sharp AR-507 and AR-M450 digital imaging devices.
If no such secured release indicative command/code 156 is detected 175 in the print job header 152, the print job is treated as normal and is fully accepted 176, received, and queued in the imaging device 102. In general, normal processing means that the imaging device 102 continues to accept data packets without suspension according to its storage and bandwidth capacity.
On the other hand, if a secured release indicative command/code 156 is encountered, the input analyzer 170 may designate or tag the headed imaging/print job 150 as being confidential (e.g. a secured release print job). If the print job is confidential, the imaging device 102 prevents acceptance 177 of subsequent data packets (e.g. 150 b, 150 c) on the corresponding logical channel/port associated with the print job. It should be noted that preventing acceptance 177 may be accomplished by blocking (the I/O output from the port monitor on the client host device 100 is blocked) or suspending receipt of subsequent data packets (e.g. 150 b, 150 c) on corresponding logical channel(s)/port(s). This prevention of acceptance may be implemented at the transport layer. If a secured release indicative command/code 156 is discovered, subsequent data packets may, optionally, not be analyzed by the input analyzer 170.
The logical channel/port then stays in a suspension mode until the user initiates the secured release. To retrieve the print job, the user would enter the secured release input 162 on the operations panel 166.
It should be noted that the shown order of the process in
It should be noted that while the data packets are being analyzed, the input analyzer 170 may parse the data for commands indicative of other print job attributes that would facilitate a user in identifying his print job, such as the job name, the document name, and the user name.
The input analyzer 170 may, for example, be installed/added to the system as a software upgrade, preinstalled as software, or implemented as hardware.
After a print job is created using an application program (e.g. a word processing program, a spread sheet program, or a graphic program), the user requests imaging (initiates the de-spooling) of a secured release print job from the application program (or a secondary program). For example, the user may initiate the de-spooling of a print job by scheduling a print job through the print spooler 104.
The user may be prompted to enter a secured release input 162, which he enters at the secured release input apparatus 164. Alternatively, a secured release input 162 may be automatically applied to all print jobs originating from a particular host device 100, to all print jobs having pre-defined destinations, or to some other subset of print jobs.
The imaging device driver 160 creates a headed imaging/print job 150 associated with the secured release input 162 (or other command/code indicative of the secured release input 162), preferably in a print job header 152. The headed imaging/print job 150 (imaging device ready data) is preferably prepared in a series of data packets 150 a, 150 b, 150 c. The initial data packet(s) 150 a preferably includes all or part of the print job header 152.
The headed print job 150 is spooled to the print spooler 104 and de-spooled to the imaging device 102. For example, the de-spooler could be a print processor and port monitor invoked via a spooler thread specific to the driver 160. The port monitor, running under the imaging device specific spooler thread, initiates a protocol (e.g. line printer remote (LPR)) for transmitting the print job to the imaging device 102 in a stream of data packets 150 a, 150 b, 150 c. Once the host device 100 print subsystem starts the de-spooling of the print job, the spooler 104 creates or assigns the spooler thread specific to the imaging device 102, and initiates the de-spooling process from this specific thread. The spooler parent and other child threads continue to run asynchronous to this specific thread.
The de-spooling process establishes a connection to the imaging device 102 (e.g. TCP/IP in a network connected imaging device 102) via a logical channel/port (e.g. LPR, IPP, 9100 port). Using a logical channel/port, multiple client host devices 100 can establish simultaneous connections to the same channel/port of an imaging device 102 (e.g. as shown in
Once the connection to the logical channel/port is established, the client host device 100 and imaging device 102 use a printing protocol to transfer the print job in a sequential sequence of data packets. A protocol handshaking occurs between the client host device 100 and imaging device 102 to acknowledge receipt/acceptance of each data packet.
As the imaging device 102 receives the initial data packet(s) 150 a of the print job, the input analyzer 170 determines whether a secured release indicative command/code 156 is present in the print job header 152. If no such secured release indicative command/code 156 is detected 175 in the print job header 152, the print job is treated as normal and is fully accepted 176, received, and queued in the imaging device 102. However, if a secured release indicative command/code 156 is found, the imaging device 102 prevents acceptance of subsequent data packets (e.g. 150 b, 150 c) on the corresponding logical channel/port from which the headed imaging/print job 150 is being sent.
The logical channel/port then stays in a suspension mode until the user initiates the secured release as discussed in connection with
The specifics of the embodiment shown in
For non-secured release print jobs 180 a, the entire print job 182 a may be stored in imaging/print job storage 182 until the imaging device 102 is ready to process the print job. For secured release print jobs 180 b, only the sub-portion of the print job 182 b up to the initial data packet(s) 150 a containing the secured release indicative command/code 156 is stored in imaging/print job storage 182 until the print job is securely released and the imaging device 102 is ready to process the secured release print jobs 180 b. The remaining data packets (e.g. 150 b, 150 c) containing the confidential imaging/print job 154 a remains on (or are retained by) the host device 100 that, presumably, is more secure.
Using the imaging/print job storage 182 shown in
One exemplary method for creating the scenario shown in
One exemplary method for creating the scenario shown in
As shown in
It should be noted, however, that the problem depicted in
It should be noted that the present invention may include an input/output (I/O) timeout configured to wait for a secured release. The timeout can be configured to allow sufficient time for the user to securely release the imaging/print job. If the user fails to enter the secure release code before the expiration of the timeout, the device or host would then terminate the connection and purge the imaging/print job. The timeout can be also be configured to purge the imaging/print job after the timeout is exceeded (which could result in a lost imaging/print job). The host device 100, upon detection of the terminated connection, could purge its portion of the imaging/print job. In this manner, the system can be configured to prevent lost or forgotten imaging/print job from wasting valuable system resources. The input/output (I/O) timeout may be implemented on the client host device 100 and/or the imaging device 102.
For purposes of this invention, a “print job” or “imaging job” includes traditional print jobs as well as faxing, copying, scanning, document manipulation, and other nontraditional print jobs. Other embodiments could include document management, such as document archive/retrieval, manipulation, and transfer. The print job may also have other security related attributes, such as authorization control and encryption.
For purposes of this invention, the secured release input 162 may be any type of identifying information including, but not limited to an ID code, an alphanumeric code, a personal identification number (PIN), a magnetic identification card, a smart card, or biometric information (e.g. a retinal scan or a fingerprint) from a biometric sensor. The secured release input print release mechanism is not limited to secured release, but also includes interactive release without a secured release input 162.
The secured release input 162 may be entered at the host device 100 and/or the imaging device using standard input devices such as a keyboard, a mouse, a microphone, or an operations panel. In an alternative preferred embodiment the secured release input 162 may be entered via specialized hardware. For example, in addition to or as an alternative to using standard input devices, the secured release input 162 may be implemented using specialized secured release input apparatus 164 such as a specialized keypad, magnetic identification card reader, or a biometric sensor (e.g. fingerprint or retinal scanner).
It should be noted that additional security measures such as encryption and/or overwriting may be used for particularly sensitive print jobs.
The terms and expressions that have been employed in the foregoing specification are used as terms of description and not of limitation, and are not intended to exclude equivalents of the features shown and described or portions of them. The scope of the invention is defined and limited only by the claims that follow.
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|U.S. Classification||358/1.15, 710/31, 358/468, 713/181, 710/44, 710/46, 358/1.14|
|International Classification||G06K15/00, G06F15/00|
|Cooperative Classification||H04L67/12, G06F21/608, G06K15/02, G06K15/1822|
|European Classification||G06F21/60C2, H04L29/08N11, G06K15/02|
|Jun 1, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SHARP LABORATORIES OF AMERICA, INC., WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FERLITSCH, ANDREW RODNEY;CHRISOP, ROY K.;REEL/FRAME:016658/0783;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050531 TO 20050601
Owner name: SHARP LABORATORIES OF AMERICA, INC.,WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FERLITSCH, ANDREW RODNEY;CHRISOP, ROY K.;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050531 TO 20050601;REEL/FRAME:016658/0783
|Jul 14, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SHARP KABUSHIKI KAISHA, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SHARP LABORATORIES OF AMERICA, INC.;REEL/FRAME:024678/0981
Effective date: 20100714
|Nov 12, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4